Lovefool 09.05.11 | No Happy Endings

Labor Day brings an end to Lovefool’s “Superhero Summer,” but Marvel’s merry mutants made certain to wrap things up on a bittersweet note.

Okay, so I think I might want to talk about the X-Men now.
Recently, as part of my Superhero Summer, Mr. Jameson and I decided to pick up the X-Men trilogy and moseyed our way through it one weekend. Of course, I’d seen the first one since it came out a jillion years ago and I might have watched it while drinking and Netflixing but, somehow, I’d missed the other two. Those movies were something that happened around me, in previews and internet posts, on Facebook and in comic shops. It didn’t occur to me to watch them on purpose until I caught the first one, on purpose, during my superhero binge earlier this summer.
My relationship with superheroes is complicated, my crush on Matt Fraction’s Tony Stark (an extension, I think, of movie Tony, played to perfection by Robert Downey, Jr.) aside. As I’ve pointed out before, there’s something that feels like it might be missing for me. I write a column about romance in comics so take a guess what it is. I’m not going to lie, either, sheer stubbornness was a big reason I didn’t read them for a long time, too. So movies are pretty much perfect for me since I only have one universe to keep track of, so to speak. It’s a win-win situation. I get to know what I’m talking about and you get to hear me talk about it without seeming like a dork. (The first part is a win, anyway.)
(A side note – I wonder how weird it was reading comics before the internet. When I really started buying, the internet was there and everywhere but, before that…? Sure, there were the conventions, but the internet has added a new dimension to fanboying that is cheeringly communal. If I wanted them to be, the X-Men could be far less complicated because I have vast resources with which to untangle them now that I wouldn’t have had before the mid ‘90s.)
So, anyway, as usual, I digress. It struck me, again, as I watched these Marvels play out onscreen that, once again, and with a ringing note of finality this time, no one ends up happy in those movies. Stop reading if you haven’t seen them but, in the last one, half of the main team ends up dead and the other half ends up miserable and/or stripped of their powers and some of their skin. Not to put too fine a point on it but, seriously, Bobby? Kitty? Really? Kitty is, like, 12. And Rogue gives up her powers just to be able to hold your hand and all you can do is tell her that she didn’t have to? Of course she didn’t have to. She knows she didn’t have to. She did it because she saw you having a goddamn couples’ skate with Kitty at midnight and just wants the same privileges you’re affording the tyke. And, whatever your intentions, I repeat – really? Who doesn’t realize how something like that looks?
And Jean. Oh, Jean. I love Jean because she’s pretty much perfect in the first two and then, because of one noble last act, she turns into a remorseless killing machine. She kills her husband, leaving nothing behind but the glasses he’d taken off as an act of faith. She tries to have crazy sex with Wolverine—not that I blame her, he’s pretty hot—before going completely mad and flipping him into a wall and strolling out in her skivvies. She kills her mentor, shredding him to bits before our eyes. She watches, almost bored, as the villain she’s joined forces with takes out large chunks of San Francisco. (She does all this dressed like an off duty employee of a traveling Renaissance Faire brothel, too, which leads to an entire other set of questions. Where do you get a dress like that without going to a costume shop?)
So the Superhero Summer, while providing me with lots of opportunity to eat popcorn and be snarky, has been seriously sad. Thor is stripped of Jane, Peggy talked Steve into an iceberg, Rogue ended up stripped of her powers looking into the regretful face of her boyfriend and Wolverine, as an act of mercy, had to stab the love of his life with his own claws while she attempted to tear him apart, molecule by molecule. It seems like it ain’t easy being Marvel and it’s especially hard to be one of the X-Men. Sure, you can fly but can you find a fulfilling relationship? Is it really necessary to have that level of angst? Can we get one happy ending out of all of these except Beast’s? No? Well. Yeesh. That’s one club I wouldn’t want to join…
(As yet another side note, sorry about the unannounced skip week—I had some mild version of what had to be the plague, rending my brain the consistency of rice pudding. Lovefool will now return to your regularly scheduled programming.) | Erin Jameson

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